Friday, February 12, 2016

FAMU to receive outside review report on President’s House garage, bonuses on Feb. 16

On Tuesday of next week, Florida A&M University will receive a report from the firm hired to conduct an independent review of controversial capital improvements at the on-campus President’s House and bonuses that were awarded to members of President Elmira Mangum’s staff. 

FAMU Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Rick Givens told university trustees on Wednesday that Grant Thornton LLP was selected for the job and will submit its written conclusions on Feb. 16.

The FAMU internal auditor normally carries out such investigations. But the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) voted to have an outside company do the review after Givens reported “potential interference with the work of Audit & Compliance” in an Oct. 21 email to then-Chairman Rufus Montgomery.

Givens was in the middle of looking into questions from the Florida auditor general about spending on the campus President’s House when he received an email from FAMU Vice-President for Finance and Administration Dale Cassidy that led him to send that notice to the BOT.

“I do believe it would better serve the institution if we were to have an outside independent voice given that the vice president of audit and compliance has already experienced what he perceived as interference,” the then-chairman said during an Oct. 22 emergency conference call.  

The BOT voted 9-0 during the call to hire an external auditor to conduct a report on the renovation projects at the President’s House and bonuses that were awarded to members of Mangum’s staff. 

On Oct. 1, the Florida auditor general’s office asked Givens to look into whether two purchase orders for renovations at the President’s House had received BOT approval. The first was issued February 13, 2014 and was for $300,209. The second, which was for a garage project, was issued on June 19, 2014 and was for $71,529.

The employment agreement between Mangum and the BOT states that: “Dr. Mangum shall obtain prior approval from the Board (or its designee) for any capital improvements or repairs to the home or its grounds which have a project cost over $10,000.”

Givens told the state auditors that he couldn’t find any documentation that showed the BOT had approved the purchase orders or been informed about the garage project. His December report to the BOT stated that any findings by the Florida auditor general would probably be included in the upcoming state financial audit for FAMU.

The Florida Board of Governors inspector general also asked about the garage project in a Sept. 9 email to Givens and will likely be interested in the final report from Grant Thornton.

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